Religious Leaders React to the Violence In Charlottesville

A makeshift memorial of flowers and a photo of victim Heather Heyer sits in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 13, 2017. Heyer died when a car rammed into a group of people who were protesting the presence of white supremacists who had gathered in the city for a rally. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

After three people were killed and dozens injured in Charlottesville, Va., amid what is believed to be the largest white nationalist rally in a decade, religious leaders condemned the Unite the Right march and the racism and anti-Semitism behind it.

Among them were a number of President Trump’s evangelical Christian advisers, such as Johnnie Moore, who has acted as the group’s unofficial spokesperson.

“EVERY evangelical I know condemns white nationalism & white supremacism,” Moore tweeted after the Saturday (Aug. 12) rally. “The Christian church is the most diverse movement in the world.”

He followed up with comments to CNN and a series of tweets warning others not to try to score political points or to make 30 marchers look like 30,000 and “dignify bigotry by giving them more attention than they deserve.” Several hundred people took part in marches lit by tiki torches on Friday night and marked by fatal violence Saturday in Charlottesville, when a man reportedly rammed his car into a crowd.

Some religious leaders also criticized Trump’s initial response denouncing hatred and violence “on many sides,” as a false moral equivalence, while a few conservative evangelicals rushed to defend the president.

In a speech Monday, the president finally called out the groups involved in the rally, saying, “Racism is evil.

“And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” he continued.

That same day, the group Christian Ethicists Without Borders released a statement on white supremacy and racism, signed by more than 180 ethicists, that avowed: ” . . . we stand in resolute agreement in firmly condemning racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Muslim, neo-Nazi ideology as a sin against God that divides the human family created in God’s image.”

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SOURCE: Religion News Service

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